Monday, December 29, 2014

When words are worthless

This article is interesting as an example of how ordinary language can plausibly miss the whole reality. I copied this paragraph--

But the notion of ending suffering through extreme spiritual stances—the cessation of desire (Buddhism) or of emotion (Stoicism)—doesn't square well with other values we hold dear, such as caring for one another or seeking to improve our own lives.

May I suggest that the case may be quite otherwise. What if such discipline is in fact a means of feeling for others beyond the bounds of normal experience. I merely present this as a possibility.  

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Stealing Fire

Surely there were a number of men sitting in that circle. The fire was circular to warm as many as possible. 

Those men sitting up late, their wives asleep already, had a dark we cannot imagine easily. There was the fire, lighting up a few trees, but the dark, was beyond description, the picture and fact,  of the unknown.

Did these stalwart researchers appreciate that their hearth echoed the stars they studied?

Somehow this distinction, picture and reality, became something men could leverage. To surmise that man's theft of fire, his acquisition of symbolic cerebral activity, involved several steps, first studying the stars in wonder, seeing patterns of things in the overhead lights, so different from the day,  may suggest pictures came before words. If so, it explains nothing, Just to know what the steps are, does not answer why. The how is not why. 

These men were braver than people today. They measured the edge of the unknown and pushed outward, upward. Jan Cox noted that people now do not look up. (And this was before the cell phones). These men did. And perhaps they saw the stars were similar to their own bright, circular, hearth. They saw patterns in the stars, patterns which at some point became the abstractions we call verbal words. These pictures in the sky were simpler, connecting the dots, white points without  distracting shrubbery.

So when Jan Coix spoke of men "falling upstairs" when they acquired language, the direction may reflect the men looking beyond their fire, exhausted but determined to understand their world with the tools they had. Pictures, then words. They, then, did not confuse words and reality. It was all new. Symbols evaporated and had to be rediscovered, not, as with moderns, just forgotten. The stars were  abstractions that became as important as the hunters' weapons, their knife edges. Only after many millenia did words become the cement of sleeping awareness. The sleeping dreams which assume that what is known, what is knowable, is all there is. This efficiency did not happen for a long time.

draw picture of campfire-- ask --is this before or after they stole fire-- the real fire-- verbal ability-- that leap [Jan COx called it falling upstairs] ---

tgat fire--- intellectual symbolic ability--- of course it was divine, it was nowhere in the primate lineage--- discontinuous--- 

what could it inspire but stories of gods, of a seeking to understand, itself inpsired by and made possible by----[[[ this symbolic acuity-]]] -- a seeking to understand which always, was self-understanding, pursuing the only valid objective path within its borders. boprder continuously expanded -- the edge always bleeding, leading, avodiing the lead of words by surpassing them---

one assume at first though--- there was no need to surpass this leaden cooling molten, loss of real form into, words---- because at first--- there was no sleeping state, necessitated by the efficiency of evolution---

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

We need rich people

There is no reason to believe what rich people say about their own contributions to the economy, etc. There is an element of truth to their ideas, as there are to most. 
What I would say though, is that we need rich people for the variety.
Variety is good. The binary mind secretly, perhaps, despises variety. The "blooming confusion" William James spoke of, is the source of originality and growth. The binary minds wants nothing so much as to sort, regardless of reality -- just get everything into this or that category. Problem is, these drawers are artificial. 

We need variety. We need rich people. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

War of the words

May I just draw your attention to a strange quality of words. Analysts like to point to denotative and connotative content. What I am trying to focus on is not these things. What I refer to is that words validate themselves, regardless of their meanings.. Their being spoken grabs a certainty. an authenticity, accuracy, and believability, regardless of the content. If  a reader  replies, I wouldn't believe a thing my brother-in-law says, his words are not self-authenticating,  To this I say that we are referring to a brief period after the words are in the air, and you can see this in the current eastern European situation. 
One side says, we did not invade Pretania, and though, there are written accounts, recorded interviews,  and plenty of pictures, of armed troops marching across the border,  there is a split second where you take that seriously, something to turned around in your mind: "They did not invade." And then you think, oh wait, they are Grossnians, of course they would lie. But for a moment the words of the Grossnians, had a sheen of authenticity. 
A strange and amazing quality of words, qua words, is my point. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Seaside scenes

I playfully thought that the positivists, the natural scientists, were like crabs with their binary pinchers. Then the mystic might be a snail,.plodding, and leaving a trail of words. This picture considers the mass of humanity as seaweed swaying back and forth. Cerebral seaside scenes.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Treat or Treat

Why do modern historians consistently label "witchcraft:' as a medieval phenomenon? A brief glance at the dates indicates that what we call witchcraft is a distinctly modern phenomenon parallel with the beginnings of modern science. Prior to the 13th century any claims made about witches having power were regarded as blasphemous or ignorant since god alone had power to control events: any suggestion a mere mortal could cause bad things to happen to another was not a Christian view. The proper attitude toward one claiming the power to harm another through spells or curses, was to pity them.

A fresh interpretation, might point to a deeper similarity between actions leading to the witchcraft trials and the early practitioners of modern science. The simultaneous occurrence of these beliefs is a matter of historical record. Both those accusing others of witchcraft and those making the discoveries that define the early modern era share this: an assignment of human agency. Man was capable of discovering and understanding the world around him. The control over events this suggested is somewhat similar to that those poor people accused of witchcraft were thought to have.

I refer of course to the men and women who suffered dreadfully in the modern era because their neighbors accused them of casting spells, etc. The appearance in the 20th century of those who claimed to be actual witches are confused in a different way. They cling to the idea they are participating in some pagan traditions which are quite old, when actually the contemporary systems involving so-called witches were just made up in the past century and a half.

And certainly the refusal to face the fact a belief in the power of witches is a modern phenomenon, suggests an unwillingness to investigate any questions of psychology seriously. A sober view of the human intellect suggests that the aspects of the world which the human mind has not grasped may be much greater than the portion he assumes he understands. And it could be asked why this is so hard to remember.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Day Five, the Peace Prize.

I was going to spend this space talking about the religious structure of modern scientific ambitions, or maybe about the rant scant science of the fringe, or, the true nature of conspiracy theorists. But, not today, not after the Peace Prize Awardees.

Is it any wonder goodness has a bad name, when such bland, uncontroversial, folk get the prize. Who is FOR not educating women, who is FOR taking advantge of children. NOBODY who is vagauely articulate could be for these things. This is not peace, it is mechanical, and, binary. (Yes you heard that word before, in this week's celebration of the Nobel Awards -- binary, if I forgot to mention this earlier, means everything can be labeled, accurately, as THIS or THAT. Two choices.Reality is always divisible into TWO.)

A big problem with binary is apparent, if you have followed me so far. How could the really good, be so boring. 

Preface---- this blog exists not to just discuss the ideas of Jan Cox. I am actually writing a book right now, that aspires to do that. No, the blog is to embody his guidelines on fresh, original, thought.  Having said that, now I am going to go back to his ideas, and yes, that means, I have no creative, adequate, alternative maps for this. His intellectual constructions are today the point of this blog. 

That is-- Jan's map of  the three flows.  I hope to sketch enough to show what I mean by saying the good, could not be, boring. The three forces/flows, are each necessary for every moment and they determine, all three together, what happens at any moment. A temporary transient labeling, would be , the Creative, the Conservative, and the unexpected or, the Good, the Bad, the irrelevant, or -- the New, the Old, the Surprising. And, yeah, they change into each other constantly. The peace is in knowledge

Peace, is accessible, at each moment, by trying to maintain an awareness, of this complexity. 

Even a bit. And continuing. A simple awareness. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

And an example in the news

And an example in the news this week helps us clarify the limits of the kind of thought that the natural scientists insist on -- that is their binary logic. 
An announcement was made that cave art in Indonesia is about the same age as the art in Chauvet and other French and Spanish caves. The latter have been considered the oldest, and originating instance of this type of human behavior. 

Now, what you are not allowed to think, according to the most pedestrian of the social scientists,  is that humanity as a whole is making some kind of leap in existence, with the painting.. The idea that all the people on the planet might be connected is "spooky action at a distance."  That is because the only kind of objective knowledge is of the external world -- of slicing and dicing and rearranging. They will therefore in the coming years spend a lot of time considering HOW this knowledge of painting could be "diffused," that is passed on by one person to another. 

At the end of some period they may just give up talking about the diffusion of knowledge of cave painting, and kind of forget the issue. That is what happened with philosophy. 

Philosophy is another example of the failure of the diffusion model to explain how philosophy and religion bloomed during the "axis time" of history."Axis time" is a phrase referring to roughly the same chronological range in which Socrates, Confucius. and other figures lived. 

Of course their first assumption is always that the examples that might illustrate simultaneity are actually dated differently than they turn out to be. And how did the assumption that the cave art in Indonesia was the same rough age as Chauvet get proved? Laboratory testing -- the kind of scientific analysis for which people win Nobels. A great example of objective scientific advance. My only point is that this kind of scientific knowing is not the ONLY kind of objective knowledge. 


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Are science and religion compatible

It is only the extremes on either end-- scientific popularizers and religious fundamentalists, who make the relation of science and religion a fratricidal squabble, The popularizers are more likely than the scientists involved in basic research, to take a superficial view of religion. 

It does not help that, to speak of the most common scenario, Christians do not denounce the fundamentalist wing of Western religion. Thinking about this, though---- it does seem like a pretty unchristian thing to do, toss out the loud-mouth haters. And, who is not guilty of that themselves sometimes-- being a loud-mouthed hater. So if there is anything left of Christian charity in the world, such a perspective would argue against kicking out the extremes. Maybe. 

Being a loud-mouth hater is a hazard with words.  In fact, to stick to a verbal formula may be a definition of loud-mouthed hater. But to pick out as exemplary, such fringe figures ( I am not naming names here, but one of those religious leaders in the recent past labeled me a witch) denotes a certain intellectual superficiality on the side of those who call themselves scientific spokespeople.And that is what the scientistic popularizers like to do -- pick some podium grabber, and treat such a person as the beginning and end of religion.

It doesn't help that scientists are right, not if you assume I have some dog in this fight, though I aim not to. But religion is an outmoded vocabulary. That does not mean there is not a reality to which these words refer. That is the complexity that both science and religion fail to weigh -- that the words must fail, in the end, to encompass the important stuff. Always and forever. About that -- the limitations of words-  historically religion has traditionally been more perceptive. Yet now, religion seems like an outmoded wardrobe.

And science has this argument. Their results are real. Where they fail, is to appreciate that their focus,their domain, is not the world, it is just the external world. Only in the last century would that position be able to keep up a facade of rationality. For how does the knower of such an external world, on the other side of the sensory apparatus, how does such a knower, know, anything, at all? 

Maybe tomorrow we can take up the question of whether western science itself, does not reveal a christian structure. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Why Didn't Jan Cox get a Nobel Prize?

Why Didn't Jan Cox get a Nobel Prize during his lifetime? Was it because his specialty was not the hard sciences? What he looked to demonstrate though, was the hardest of knowledge, -- how to focus your own attention on the inbetween. I don't know if his goal was really harder than corralling neutrinos, but I suspect it was. 

And some  reader might well say, what kind of comparison is THIS? Something written by someone who obviously idolizes this Jan Cox. How could this writer be objective.

What if the division of objectivity and subjectivity is just the received cant, the herd summary, with no individual investigation of the factors involved in labeling, separating, objective and subjective. What if  -- this problem is insoluble because the question starts AFTER the mind has divided the world into two. Then you have to get inner and outer back together somehow. If my assessment of this situation is correct, it suggests something all the Nobel nominees in history, have not come to grips with.  

Like most of the physical scientists, Jan Cox did not envisage immortality, or theism. The problems he tackled were harder than cracking the atom --- that is, Jan Cox sought to show one person, or more, the nature of personal change. 

Jan Cox did not get a Nobel NOT because what he was doing was not important, was not earth changing, -- he did not get one because the world is necessarily and happily, --- deaf. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Happy Nobel Week

The difference between the natural sciences and what we, those intent on preserving the meaning of the work of Jan Cox, are about, is a fun question.
Jan addressed it: he said the reason there are not more scientists in the Work is because they get shocks to their yellow circuit in the course of their own pursuits. Which I take to mean, they do not feel the need for TKS.
The natural scientists focus on the external world and that is both why their pursuits are legitimate, and why they will not naturally ever come across TKS. Their legitimate results are based on binary thought. Of course with the external world, this method is the proper tool. 
The success of binary thought dealing with the external world blinds most scientists to the other aspects of reality which are appropriate for mankind to study. That and all the agitprop of the last century, which work to invalidate any OTHER fields of study, besides the external world.
With just the results of the work of contenders for the Nobel Prize mankind will limp along, and the individual may live a happy life, but drugs will be necessary to ease the pain of an amputation felt but which academe unites to trivialize. 

Maybe we should have a post everyday this week to celebrate. We thank scientists for drugs that work, too. But is that the only option available for what Jan called "A Certain Hunger."  Check back here.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

If you must read

Part of the vocabulary of modern spiritual paths, and pseudo paths, is the conjunction of "essence and personality." The phrase refers to what a man authentically is, a genetic matter he is born with, and the addition necessary for a civilized man to exist in a social world, an automatic cerebral mask that Gurdjieff, and after him Jan Cox, might label "personality".
This must be a continuum, a balance between these two aspects that varies from person to person, and, civilization to civilization.
None of this is mentioned in a book that caught my attention yesterday. 
The book is a biography of a Japanese man born around 1915. I would recommend this book to anyone: Dog Man: An Uncommon Life on a Faraway Mountain (2008). The author, Martha Sherrill, is not a great writer, but she knows what to include, and lets the reader draw their own conclusions. Sherrill has an unusual talent. And Dog Man tells the story of the realization of a certain kind of essence, and the manner of its manifestation in war time Japan. Morie Sawataishi is the human subject. Others are modern life, dogs, and what is important. And possible. Did I mention I like the book.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The headline here is the point

Fantastically Wrong: Europe's Insane History of Putting Animals on Trial and Executing Them
Even so I will link to the article

But my point is really the headline starting off the article and this post.
Because the headline illustrates the total unwillingness to understand the people we were before we became modern science-loving folk. Insane is a term that pushes the topic into the rubbish so we do not need to examine reality to find out about ourselves. How could people do such things? how did such people become modern at all? Why do such acts seem so unthinkable now? The point of the article is we do not need to even ask these questions.

And yet, let me guess something. As strong as the taboo against self-knowledge in our culture is,-- as illustrated by the use of the word insane, above, -- until science includes self-knowledge, at least inspired by the work of great philosophers like Jan Cox, until then, we are not going to have the skill and knowledge, to get off the planet. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Counters and the counted

When words, -- the coins, counters, playing pieces,  of rational, binary thought, -- cannot even countenance the constant change which is a salient feature of the world we participate in, words are assuming a kind of divinity to themselves. An idolatry, actually, since this change defies linguistic categorization, and yet, includes and carries along, all.

It is not hard to flick over this presumptuous king chess piece. The click it makes falling over is hardly even audible. What is the difference between king and pawn game pieces. How could there be any. Without the game piece in your eye, other vistas are possible.

Most people just do not know how to do it, nor how it might involve a consistent flicking. The game piece, barely even resembling anything it is the name of, does have this advantage -- it can bobble back up. 

Knocking it over again is no more difficult than it was the first time. You have to remember to do it. Thus the religious literature of this planet. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

What all wobbles

Words are wobbly. By that I mean, that they do not fit perfectly upon that to which they refer. Take any flower, just as a point in case  a point is needed. You cannot describe one flower in a meadowful, so as to lead another person TO THAT EXACT FLOWER, by means of your description. 

Words do not know this, because of course words don't know anything. They are part of people's thinking. People though rarely know this,-- that words wobble -- and I have to wonder if this is not a sign of their insecurity, their reluctance to face the limits of their own knowledge. And by people, I mean published, academic, philosopher, and everybody else. 

And why the defensive fencing off of part of reality as irrelevant? At least you might say, well the underlying reality, whatever that means, in the words of Prince Charles, you might say the underlying reality, the flower itself in all its glorious individuality, that does not wobble. 

At least the bloom does not wobble more than you could calculate from a mathematical analysis of the air currents surrounding it. 

You can say that, you can say anything. But you would be wrong if you think the underlying reality does not wobble. You would, let me rephrase this -- you would be wrong not to consider that the underlying reality, words and all they specify and all they cannot specify, all that can be apprehended, and all that maybe cannot even be apprehended, with any talents, -- ALL of that, may be wobbly. At least sometimes wobbly. Some philosophers knew this. Baruch Spinoza, Jan Cox. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

House of Pards

The words Jesus is reported to have spoken to his disciples, "be ye therefore as gentle as doves, as cunning as serpents," always struck me as something Jan might have said, though he did not. Another picture might be, of a person as a house, which is a trope Jan used. The goal then might be to become, a house of pards.
You, you as a habitat, would then have no right angles. Well, enough so you could fake it.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The mark-up of goods in the market place

The mark-up of goods in the market place 
just shadows the smirk-up of words when they are put into dialogues

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Timely Responses

The headlines are full of panicked stories about how people are getting dumber. I wonder if this is related, less directly to the web, than to a changing sense of time. No longer do wives wait for their husbands to return from sea voyages. When you can skype and email, the sailor has not really gone, in the sense he once did. This is an example of what I mean by a changing sense of time. 

So everything is more jumbled together, nowadays, without these gaps in which to consider, breathe, wonder, wander; can fruit for the next season. And, mainly, crucially, responses are demanded. And if demanded, human beings are that species which will answer. That is part of the motion of speaking. There are responses when something is said. There is no such thing as--- one person speaking. That first speech is an incomplete action til there is a reply. Part of a definition of warfare is that there are times when speech is NOT allowed. So one reason people seem dumber may be as simple as that they do not have time to come up with a considered response. 

These thoughts do not address the question of humans getting dumber. That is both true and not true, and not the purpose of this post. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A step for the wise

Perhaps you are a tight rope walker. Perhaps you can picture what that is like. A  famous example is the Frenchman who walked between the twin towers on a high rope. 

My purpose in this picture is to help others understand what Jan Cox means when he speaks of "effort."  He said to people who asked if they were doing it right -- that is self-observing, or one of the many names he called this ancient mystical discipline -- he said to the questioner-- if you have to ask you are not, because it always requires effort. 

The strider in the sky, must maintain a kind of balance and proportion. His thoughts cannot drift off. If he makes a mistake, he could be a wad on the sidewalk below.

Those who seek a view known to but few in history, those people practise this self-observing as much as possible, The city small below, the empty sky, this is all possible, But it is requires the mental currency of effort. If we or our fellow seekers, slip on a cerebral tightrope, we fall into imagination. No harm is apparent, at first. 

And that may be one difference between the physical and the mental. Some mistakes have the very same cost. The only difference is that the mental tight rope walker can, with patience and consistency, improve his performance, and, the view. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Pre-dating and predation

Is this what the mind likes to do--- not really know something NEW, but classify something according to what it already knows. This could be called a kind of pre-dating -- to sort something in advance. 

Interestingly predation, the act of capturing AND killing, sounds like pre-dating. Interesting because in fact the killing part is common to both pictures. The mind in fact must kill the next moment, the newness of the next moment, if the mind is to retain an orderly progression. Because this orderliness is fictive, possibly. The mind loses the newness, the opportunity to learn something, by the progression of ordinary thought.

Jan Cox pointed out that ordinary thought cannot originate ANYthing new. What the ordinary call originality is just rearranging known things, not creating anything. His example of what the ordinary call originality was flying pigs. Wings, pigs, all stuff we know. Not really original the way The Way of The Work makes possible.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

If you cut it in two, you just make it harder to put back together

There are several reasons why it is misleading to say the message of Jan Cox is 'about consciousness.'

For one thing you are "saying" it ---- saying what you do not understand, as if you did understand it. But if you understand consciousnesss -- you should alert major neuroscience labs--- for that is the one thing even the natural scientists can be made to see --- they do NOT understand -- what consciousness is.

In these circumstances it can only be considered careless chatter, to throw out that word, as if it explained something.

But that is not the real point----my reservations are not  that you are doing the opposite of the guidelines to which Jan Cox pointed, in the sense the path is a path of real knowledge.

For the above is not the reason the word is objectionable. Nor is it really that the word consciousness is a great example of binary thought-- as if there were the mental and then the material. One or the other. A great example of binary, ordinary, rational, mentation. 

That the work is 'about consciousness'  is not what Jan Cox said. In fact, what Jan said, was that man had no spiritual nature. Jan said , that the world was all material. And what he pointed to, was boundaries, not the still flopped pieces that result from the use of a binary knife of ordinary mentation. When Jan said "There is nothing out there," he did NOT mean, there is something "in here." He in fact spent years, pointing to a third direction. 

There is a reason the word "consciousness" is so popular now. Among New Age pools of talkers. I may get to that sometime soon. 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

These zoo enrichment guidelines fail to impress

There have been lots of idea the past few decades: most of them amount to painting cement green. Making cages larger. And then there is the plan to to hide their food, so they can have the primordial experience of hunting for their meal. For some, the only zoo experience that could count as enriching would be eating a zoo-keeper. 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Just an example of ordinary academic chatter

The Tolkien problem. Hobbits and dragons dominate the popular imagination. The result: We've lost sight of actual medieval history?.
End quote of a blurb at

This summary of somebody's thesis, on which we base a few thoughts:
That actual medieval history was long gone before Tolkien brandished his pen. Certainly it was long gone when someone coined the word medieval.

That words must obscure, they render the vast squirming and glory of a moment into something manageable by thinkers, speakers, talkers. 

That Tolkien probably knew this as well as anyone of his adorable ilk.. 

Cite the source or cite your ignorance

The bigger the font the more ordinary the thought

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The quick and the invisible

A small wild creature is a good example. The chipmunk will freeze, not flee, when he senses a threat. For him stillness is invisibility. 

Is it too much of a stretch to see the motion of wild creatures as words-- the tumbling of discrete particles, blocks, in a space which is cerebral, the eternal seeming flow, of verbal entities -- constant, heedless, only occasionally purposive. 

Invisibility is safety in a hawk eat rodent world. But such refuge is temporary. He must move to hunt, to survive, interact with the world around him. Man must speak to move, interact, at another level, also.
But it is only the quiet which makes possible the appearance of a chipmunk god.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Language and the fresh

Language is something others speak, and so do you ---- otherwise it would be incomprehensible and not a means of communication between people. So words are not new-- how could they then function between people.  Normally. This is a kind of tyranny for people trying to 'wake-up', in Gurdjeffian terminology, to 'evolve faster than the rest of humanity' in the phraseology of Jan Cox. 

The tyranny of course is not really verbal. But it can be sensible to consider it  from that angle at the moment. An initial question, for a teacher is how to communicate the how and how, of a quest, if the goal is to diminish the power of the linguistic web on particular node, the individual person.

In the case of both Gurdjieff and Cox new maps describing the world were a part of their approach. Jan Cox in his teaching also demonstrated the meaning of new maps--verbal constructs pointing to shared realities-- by himself, from the stage, just remaking maps every few days, or weeks. A few maps, such as, using the term 'bridges' to convey something similar to chakra [points] may have lasted several months. Since Jan's maps were based on direct seeing, rather than the words of others, he was not just relabeling certain realities. His bridges conveyed a fresh understanding of certain realities.

My own purpose is to take a deeper look here at the specific way in which ordinary language, cliches, can be harmful to the sober seeker. 
I will take a word "consciousness," and a phrase, 'kicking your butt,' and analyze both of these to perhaps point to what is lost when words are used carelessly. 

So check back for part 2. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

What is so scary about This Kind of Stuff

This phenomenon, though not stressed by Jan Cox, I don't think, is called in a history of mysticism, Latin equivalent of " a horror of vacuum." I am calling it the scary side of This Kind of Stuff.  It must exist, or something else in the category of scary things --, else why isn't everybody awake. Why isn't anyone awake?  This is an ordinary level of mentation type of question, wherein we pretend that binary thought has a usefulness beyond the external world. Why would the concrete evidence of peace and joy, available to every sincere person who can follow the clear and unambiguous instructions for neuralizing (one of many of Jan's descriptions of self-observation), not motivate a cascade of practice and reaping of reward? 

Is, within the realm where words can get loosened, there a sense of the edge of nothing, which is commonly perceived by the ordinary mind, as 'scary.' Talking about phenomenal reality here. It is an interesting question because the effects are rather the opposite according to proponents of the practice of self-observation. Might have to put on your deerstalker, for this one ---- or take it off:

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Just Metaphor

A recent popular science article discusses La Grange points. These are empty areas in space where various forces balance out, leaving a physical spot with no or little gravity. Such a point must be vacant of physical bodies, but precisely located among certain  trajectories. (Just read the article, okay.) . If you think of words as bodies in space, from dust to rocks to spinning suns, the goal of the teachers of mystical technique, throughout the millenia, could perhaps be described, as getting the students to see LA GRANGE POINTS. Then comes the hard part. But--- to get the student to see these vacant spots, that is first task of a teacher.

Finally we have a just metaphor, that just barely points at what Jan Cox wanted his students to see---
And remember.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Anything can be a cliche

Jan Cox spoke about and around the difficulty of human speech relying on the verbal capacity of our species. Words function as a web unifying humanity, and to be comprehended one must use words-- one must use used words.

Jan had to use words. He had other means at his disposal, but to communicate to many, to not waste his time, Jan too used words. What else. Soon his words will be themselves cliches. That process started before his death, but now the vivifying background is gone and we can assume this is speeding up. This is simply the planet we live on.

Those who knew Jan have a special responsibility to delay this decay. They do this in their speech, in their writing, in their actions. His students by recalling his directives, especially those directives regarding invisible,  non-verbal,  action--- I refer to what some call "self-observation" -- and employing them. Will this affect the churn of flows that is each moment, in terms of Jan's effect? Who knows, but it seems like a sensible course. 

'Consciousness' is an example of a word which Jan used sparingly. In his use it referred to the psychological aspect of a balance between the seeker's responsibility to focus on both the external (the cosmological aspect of reality) as well as the internal (the psychological) realities. Failure to focus on both sides, he said in an early paper, could lead to an imbalance described as increased egoism. His early phrases changed over the years. His message did not.

Now of course the word 'consciousness' is a New Age cliche, referring to a view of man wherein all he has to do is love himself MORE, to transform his world. So the decay in useful meaning continues. More guests for Oprah. 

The emphasis Jan Cox placed from the start, on burning maps -- intellectual constructs-- functioned to mitigate against this inevitable decay, for one desirous of ascertaining reality. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

NPR interview on Is there life after death

It featured aSean Carroll in the debate and it was lots of fun. Again-- the natural scientists say outrageous things they do not understand --- that there is no more need for a life spirit, and all this stuff scientists say they understand. That was the side of debaters who were against the possibility of life after death. Too bad they are probably right.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The apple rolls far from the tree

Garrison Keillor reminds us that today is the anniversary of (July 5,
1687) when Newton published "Philosophiae Naturalis Principia
Mathematica, or "Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy.... the
Principia contained Newton's three laws of motion, including, ....
"For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."

Note the binary formulation: an equal and opposite reaction. We might
wonder if there is not a third force here, what Jan Cox called, E
force, or the unexpected, the irrelevant, coming into play each
second. Which sounds smug, but I am just trying to widen that small
aperture through which we see the world.

The historical treatment of Newton though is also a great example of
binary thought, in that, the work that equally involved him, his work
on religious issues, is never investigated. So for sure at least one
third of Newton's thought is ignored. Newton the scientist and Newton
the Alchemist are two sides, the good Newton and the old-fashioned
Newton. Whereas, with a figure this brilliant, you might have thought,
perhaps the entire corpus of his work should be studied with a view
towards greater comprehensibility.

This is the kind of approach though which the rigor mortis of binary
thought makes unlikely. A large part of Newton's thought can be just
ignored, the same way human experience, being labeled subjective, can
just be ignored by scientists.

Myself, I wonder if you can really understand Newton without studying
all his work to appreciate what he was saying.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

We walk across manholes like the night

There are gaps everywhere, and our survival as intellectual creatures depends on our not seeing them.

There are gaps everywhere and any personal progress in a vertical dimension depends on our remembering them

Cars and cores

What people call their minds, their selves----
are like automobiles. Necessary, automobiles, capable of things we could NOT do otherwise, like covering large distances quickly. There are enormous structures designed to make these automobiles even faster. The cars in my picture are rational, thought. Mental functioning. 

But perhaps automobiles are misnamed. Self...Moving. Because a driver is needed. Even if, soon perhaps these vehicles will move with minimal human intervention. All this obscures the fact there is something for which the cars are just a tool. The person inside. 

This person is like that quantity of reality, which the Work addresses; the "person" in our metaphor of urban reality, is  the aspect of humanity which might become less mechanical, in optimum and rare circumstances. It is necessary for the Work, or something like the Work throughout history, to actuate this quantity because this quantity, comparable to a person, situated within a world a metal machines, is not necessary for functioning of the world, not anyway, necessary in any large quantities. 

Cars can profitably be considered rational thought. Persons then, are that non-verbal dimension, the locus at which change is possible, just barely, possible. Once in a whirl. By those who can even conceive the distinction  between cars and their drivers. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

The spot we lose it

There is a purple flag in Sarajevo, which, marking the spot Archduke Franz Joseph was assassinated, says, "This is where the 20th century began." I have not been there; I heard this on the radio. 

What that banner marks though is really, a prime example of binary thought. Binary thought, which makes everything possible, must divide everything into one of two things, this or that. This is the 20th century. That is not. 

I like this example because, regardless of the aplomb of the radio personality, it points up the absurdity of such divisions, the arbitrary nature of such cleavage. 

Of course if there was a flag over each instance of binary thought, we would not be able to see anything real, just the thoughts. Oh--- wait -- we can't already. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Out of the mouths of academics

We quote an article from Berfrois:

If a philosopher is someone who is trying, through the use of reason, to find a kind of intelligibility which grounds our experience of that which there is, that very general sense of philosophy as a project that is trying to uncover the true nature of reality, a metaphysical project, then Shakespeare isn't a philosopher. Shakespeare is someone who leaves us in the dark as to what that reality might be. What we get instead is an experience of ambiguity and opacity.

We quote ourselves: What if what you get after pursuing every intellectual resource available, faithfully, fully, you discover the true nature of reality, IS an experience that cannot be verbalized - 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Local Conditions

Local Conditions are everywhere.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Can the sausage factory be the source of "words"?

Can the sausage factory be the source of "words"?
But then, how can it not.
To say that everything is consciousness is to pretend to solve a problem without grasping what the problem really is.
For whether you start with matter or consciousness, you have to account for the other, to be, minimally plausible.
Jan Cox early in his career, pointed out that all was matter, that there was no "spiritual nature in man."
For some the view from the precipice is energizing.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Thinking Two Things at the Same Time

The ability to do this is one of the impossible things that the Work attempts to convey. In fact, let me point out that I have other explanations than the following, which is good also. But something just occurred to me when reading this discussion of Ecclesiastes in Wikipedia:

Some passages of Ecclesiastes seem to contradict other portions of the Old Testament, and even itself. One suggestion for resolving the contradictions is to read the book as the record of Koheleth's quest for knowledge: opposing judgements (e.g. the dead are better off than the living (4:2) vs. a living dog is better off than a dead lion (9:4)) are therefore provisional....

What occurred to me is that the ability to think two things at once, is only contradictory at the level of binary thought, AND-- you could think of the ability to think two things at the same time,  as an alphabet block with different letters on each side. Thinking two thoughts at the same time is then just like looking at such a block from a certain angle: an angle which includes multiple sides of the block. To paraphrase somebody else, if six impossible things before breakfast is too hard, try thinking twelve, before lunch.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Yesterday? Or Tomorrow?

Here is a typeface from 1650. The link gives more details, but not a possible significance of this style. What I like is that this style does not let you ignore the fact you are at the level of words. None of this modern pretension that words can accurately reflect reality. This typeface says, "Yeah, I'm part of a word, what are you gonna do about it!". All this while suggesting, in the floral marine swirling patterns, that everything is part of everything else. Everything is connected, at a basic physical level. A fact that is incontrovertible and largely ignored today. I want what this artist was having. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Walking the walk

There's the talk and there's the walk. Jan Cox was only interested in -- the alk. The alk is all. For the few. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

So what is NOT behavior?

External behavior is an arbitrary measurement. You cannot divide external and internal action. It is just that the ordinary have no internal action--- just the tumbling of blocks.

Not speaking, that is behavior too.

Thinking is behavior, even though it must be imaginary.

Not thinking, that is --- neuralizing, or as Jan and Gurdjieff called it, self-remembering---is  the behavior which alone gives you an objective glimpse.

Knowing what is going on--- I call that behavior.

To suggest a real teacher can be measured in bourgeois terms -- that is behavior which reflects on a follower, not on the teacher. It may be like a Real Teacher, a Socrates, or a Jan Cox, is aware of lines of force which indicate which paths of action are appropriate at which times. I am making that up, but it fits with the daemon one reads about in reference to Socrates. The action of a real teacher is pure in a way which baffles the ordinary. Let's not be ordinary. 

The action of being alert internally is not just the goal, it is visible to one who knows. Jan Cox said he could look at the eyes of another and know their level of consciousness. 

More -- or less perhaps -- than this, is posture, which also--- reflect one's inner attention. I call this behavior. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Who writes this stuff

Like everyone we know I am glued to the new Cosmos series during its time slot. Only now though (after three episodes) does come to mind a larger significance of that opening scene where people (drawings of people as the graphic mode is introduced to historical reconstructions) are cowering as they look up to the sky. The creators of Cosmos are heralding the theme of the whole series in this shot. That theme being man can go from fear to courage. I suspect this absurd view of history is designed to counter the climate change deniers. And here we see the limitations of binary thought, that is, the mechanical rational thought which is all most people know as thinking. The clarity of binary thought is seen in this division into brave modern science loving people and bad dumb people clinging to theistic models. Binary thought forces the listener into such silly divisions. Are you a science lover or a climate denier? I suspect this division is taken seriously by many working scientists, and maybe ALL science popularizers.

Perhaps I will come back to my theme: what is wrong with this picture-- science lovers versus climate change deniers. We could discuss--

1. Why this division obscures the important points, like how these first people may have been smarter and braver than we are now.

2. Is the underlying theme really that man can become himself, a god, rather than that science needs to get beyond religion?

3. Does the vista of the starry sky at night make man seem tiny and insignificant and is this perspective realistic? Or could this vista be, as those careful of their phrasing might say: the beginning of wisdom.

4. If the traditional definition of god is that being who is eternal, all-knowing, all powerful, ubiquitous, what does it mean to suggest these descriptions could be applied to man. 

I might return to these questions. Meanwhile I will not miss the next episodes. And how clever of the directors to cast Neil deGrasse Tyson in the main role, that adorable teddybear sweet and gentle and glowing with smartness guy. Brilliant casting. I can hardly wait. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

The strangest news this month

In a month of strange news-- mud slides, and lost planes, and fascist phantoms,
the strangest news might be the manner in which American commentators discussed the situation behind Putin's actions. 

I heard it several places but David Brooks, a conservative spokesman, is one, and he described the danger the world faced because Putin is "narcissistic and insecure." What kind of analysis is that. Couldn't that really describe everyone-- I mean how does that forward the discussion.
Is psychologism the best we can do. 

 And mainly, what happened to Lord Acton? Has his maxim been bettered? Power corrupts. 

And absolute power corrupts absolutely. What is happening is at the level of hormones. Everything really, but no need to push that aspect now. Hormones, not neurons are what is behind Putin's land grab of the Crimea. And while the future may sound more and more explicable in terms of psychological diagnoses, such, in fact, obscure what is going on.

Which is simple enough.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Ink on paper versus pixels on a screen

Is not the fact something CAN be easily changed, a factor making it more subjective. There will come a time when the text on an e-book will be changed, deliberately. The intent will be to alter history. It will only take a few keystrokes. So the reality of ebooks, the accounts therein, have a subtler, more blowing in the wind, subjective dimension. Hard on a piece of paper, one of a few copies, perhaps, could still be hidden as a record, a testimony, a proof, or accidentally preserved to surprise all at some unimagined time when we have forgotten we forgot. So perhaps the flutter of change is felt in the reader as he touches the screen of an ebook reader. The world is a bit less stable, as it as always shifts between Heraclitian pillars and Parmidean flux. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Just two, huh?

When I read that scientists now have "discovered" two cognitive faulties, I thought maybe they meant the body's knowledge, and the minds's. But no, apparently what they have noticed, and miscategorized, is evidence that man is part of a larger machinery.

Friday, March 7, 2014

If words could talk-- part 2

Words are not paving stones, though some would find that an acceptable picture -- a path though the garden of reality. Words can be, the edge of cliff....

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

If words could speak

Words are like paper airplanes, folded, creased, and set aloft. The fun is that they sail. There is no mystery, the laws of aerodynamics explain the lift, the course, the drift. Words are like consciousness itself. The event is not something carried along, but the flight itself. The sharp nosed paper aloft is consciousness. Any point, moral, import, message, is not the point. It is aloft, and no spiritual dimension is required to explain it. The mystery is not what the meaning of these short-lived flights contains, portends, suggests -- the words are from the past, their folds are part of consciousness but to expect some verbal baggage from the flight is to let gravity. Many seek just to stay aloft --such is the struggle, the effort, and a reward. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

So Gravity Swept the Oscars

Whether or not you doubt ordinary entertainment can have an enduring artistic aspect, you can ask whether the scenario in Gravity is so popular because it resonates with basic human dramas and one of these, one not discussed at all at the level of ordinary consciousness, is, why aren't more people drawn to, and constructive in, the anti-gravity efforts of a few.  I refer of course to the struggle of The Work. Why are not more people interested in, and rewarded by, this eternal human dimension. 

At first glance it may seem there is nothing so scary as being untethered from the satellite station. Floating free, with an untrammeled view, and of course certain doom. Doom because there is no one to talk to ---- no no, of course I meant no one to hear you.  My suggestion is that  there is a parallel between the untetheredness of space, and the goals of a mystic. 

Death is the one thing that Jan Cox allowed as a human "problem." And then, his allowance of any real problem confronting man was begrudging. Yet who can doubt that the phrase 'certain death' is redundant.

And so I exclude that plot point in my metaphor. Is there any help in our struggle to be gained by considering the question of the appeal of the movie Gravity? 

How is it that a facsimile attracts more attention and devotion that the original of which the facsimile is a sketch?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Cave Art Access Allowed

To protect the painting there is a lottery and the winning tourists are allowed to access the caves, and the others can view an excellent replica. WHY would everyone not prefer the replica?

Nicholas of Cusa

Jan Cox did not mention "Nicholas of Cusa" in my presence. Had they met, though, I assure you, each would have a small smile on their lips, and slight dip of the head: signs of a silent happiness of fellowship. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Now days you have to assume all photos are false. That every photo you see has been processed. What is the good of fake photos? Why spend your heart on a fox photo that only purports to capture a dainty moment?
You are believing the photo captured a real moment when you think "how cute is that." You are not thinking, "what a clever photographer to have added a smile to this wildlife creature so we will find it enticing, and share it and make the photographer famous." Nowadays you have to assume all photos you see are false, because sometimes they are so good you cannot tell. 
Same is true of your thoughts too.

Friday, February 14, 2014


There should be no argument about whether people are becoming more alike, on the planet.  I mean a lot more than the ascendance of western civilization,  That is not the theme in today's post. In honor of the holiday I will point out that Jan said once, that harmonious couples had a much in common with each other.  Again, all this is peripheral, though not irrelevant.

Today's theme is the audible evidence of humanity's evolution. The media commentators previously had a certain timbre in their voices. This is referenced by the phrases 'radio voice', and 'universal accent.' Cronkite had it, and you still hear today in the United States, especially in veterans at NPR. 

But that deeper tone, more measured enunciation, on the air waves is disappearing. It is replaced by a jauntiness, a tendency to sarcasm, and a higher pitched voice, from on air sources we assume to take themselves seriously. We can hear in the voices we hear, that man is living more in his imagination. A necessary step for the growth of humanity as a whole. Not so good for real romance, but that is slim price to pay, for the quicker action and consensus on issues that a more evolved humanity allows. We speak of course about an ongoing drama. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Scandal on the planes of intellect

How man came across the idea of deity can profitably be imagined. Of many scenarios, one that has an appeal is that students on a path of learning, must notice the state of their minds, what the eastern sages call monkey mind. To discipline these automatic thoughts is so rare among men, so unlikely an even very brief, accomplishment, that if one assumed some interference, aid, from another realm, that may seem very plausible. And so the face-saving idea that man must fail, were it not for god, gained traction. 
Perhaps all the stories have some validity. Surely that is a reasonable perspective, as annoying as that thought, 'well all the theories are correct,' might be to man's binary intellect. 

Jan Cox referred to this binary intellect  (everything is either this or that)  when he joked that "scientists can only count to two." Sober soldiers suck it in -- why else does man have twenty digits, if not to count at least twenty right answers. 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The rocks by the shore

The rocks by the shore are safe, you pick your steps and progress comfortably. Rocks in my picture, are words. The water is what you suspect must be there, everybody has some sense of that reality surely. Don't look to the horizon, or even the shoreline. The water is closer.